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Darwinian DetectivesRevealing the Natural History of Genes and Genomes$
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Norman A. Johnson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306750

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306750.001.0001

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What Are the Genetic Differences That Made Us Human?

What Are the Genetic Differences That Made Us Human?

(p.129) 9 What Are the Genetic Differences That Made Us Human?
Darwinian Detectives

Norman A. Johnson

Oxford University Press

Humans differ from chimpanzees and other apes with respect to our large brains and our abilities to use language, among other differences. This chapter discusses several candidate genes involved in brain size and linguistic ability (e.g., FOXP2) upon which natural selection appears to have acted in the human lineage. The complete genome sequences of humans, chimpanzees, and mouse (an outgroup) allow evolutionary geneticists to determine what genetic changes have occurred along the lineage that led to us. The McDonald-Kreitman tests and other tests to detect positive selection (Chapter 4) allow for the determination of which changes have been involved in adaptive evolution.

Keywords:   adaptive evolution, brain size, chimpanzees, FOXP2, genome, humans, linguistic ability, McDonald-Kreitman test, positive selection

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